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How important are extracurriculars?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by SilverBandCry!, Dec 22, 2005.

  1. SilverBandCry!

    SilverBandCry! Senior Member
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    Suppose a person has impressive EC's (like winning grants to do research abroad), publishing a book, being president of many organizations at their university etc. How important would it be? Would this person have a strong chance at a top med school with a high GPA (3.8) but an otherwise average MCAT (30-31)?

    Thanks!
     
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  3. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers
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    A 30-31 is not an average MCAT but it is about average for the top schools. A good gpa coupled with a nice MCAT shows that the applicant has the smarts, knowledge base and work ethic to succeed academically. The ECs you describe show an interest in research, the work ethic to see a big project to completion, and demonstrates leadership. That's all good.

    My next question in reviewing such an applicant would be: does the applicant have an interest in patients? how has the applicant tested an interest in medicine? (has the applicant smelled patients?) Someone who can't pass that section of the review might be better suited to a doctoral program in the sciences.
     
  4. Thundrstorm

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    I would certainly think so! A 30 or 31 is great. I worked dang hard for my 30, and it's serving me well so far. I assume you haven't actually taken the MCAT yet? Is that the score you're shooting for, or getting in practice tests?

    Those are impressive ECs, by the way. Did you really do all that?
     
  5. bubbleyum

    bubbleyum Senior Member
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    depends on what your idea of "top med school" is.
    if you mean harvard, yale, washington u, then with a 30-31 mcat you are probably not very competitive, even with great extracurriculars and a 4.0gpa, unless you are URM or have some other extenuating circumstances you overcame.

    and even for "mid-tier" med schools, i would say extracurriculars, especially clinical experience is VERY important. i have a 30 mcat and have siginficant volunteer and work experience throughout the years, but as a non-trad don't have a lot of "clinical" experience on my amcas(just one year at a children's hospital.) i applied to 20 schools, no harvard-type schools either, and only have one interview at a school that supposedly interviews the most amount of candidates. not even my state school wants to talk to me right now.

    so keep your expectations realistic, but aim as high as possible. work hard and apply to a large range of schools.
    good luck! (and wish me luck as well cause i obviously need it! ;) )
     
  6. SilverBandCry!

    SilverBandCry! Senior Member
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    How would an applicant demonstrate that? For instance, I have volunteered at an AIDS clinic in India, established an HIV/AIDS program in collaboration with UNICEF, helped build a school for ex-child labors in matchbox industry, conducted field work in Tanzania on combatting HIV prostitution, completed an original independent research project in a Masai village in Kenya (HIV/AIDS related), done outreach for gay and bisexual men with HIV since my freshman year of college, founder and president of 2 organizations, received NIH summer research grant (cancer research/phosphorylation), received awards for documentary photograpy, and job-shadowed a family doctor as part of my medically related EC experiences...I was awarded prestigious grants for all my research...I am confused by what you mean by "has the applicant smelled patients?"

    thanks
     
  7. SilverBandCry!

    SilverBandCry! Senior Member
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    Yes, with doing international research and being president of a few organizations. I am currently writing a book and hoping that I might get it published...it's not published yet.
     
  8. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers
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    If you have been close enough to patients to smell them you would know what I mean.

    Being a volunteer in an AIDS clinic and working with people with HIV+ (in a clinical or outreach setting) sounds like it fits the bill.

    What is the book about?
     
  9. SilverBandCry!

    SilverBandCry! Senior Member
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    Thanks! It is a book focused on HIV/AIDS.
     
  10. somewhere2010

    somewhere2010 SDN Donor
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    ECs are important, and you have great ones...with your MCAT and GPA too, you sound like a solid applicant to me. good luck! :)
     
  11. gostudy

    gostudy Black covfefe. No sugar, no cream
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    Thought it was appropiate to post one of the best posts I've seen in this thread:

     
  12. SilverBandCry!

    SilverBandCry! Senior Member
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    sorry bumped my accident
     
  13. TheRealMD

    TheRealMD "The Mac Guy"
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    That icky hospital smell makes me want to wear a mask even as a volunteer. :p It's really a smell you can't forget (and I haven't even smelled burnt flesh, thank goodness)
     
  14. quiltlady

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    So what happened in the past two years? did you get in to a school ? Did all your ec's suffice to impress the adcoms?
     
  15. medking

    medking The time will come...
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    When you say review an applicant, what stage of the application are you talking about? For secondary screening, would you just look at numbers of hours?

    I just ask because on paper (total hours), my clinical experience might not seem that significant (I have about 150 hours over a six month period), but I know that I can show my interest in patients and what I have learned/gained from the experience at an interview.

    Thanks LizzyM!
     
  16. diosa428

    diosa428 SDN Angel
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    Does anyone else find it ridiculous that just 2 years ago, 30-31 was "average" for top schools, and now it's more of an average for lower tiered schools? That's a pretty crazy jump.
     
  17. medking

    medking The time will come...
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    haha, true true. I guess we just have to live with it.
     
  18. medking

    medking The time will come...
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  19. sehnsucht

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    Really? I must have adapted well over the years if hospital smells don't even register as bothersome at all. Burnt flesh smells really, really odd...it is unlike any normal smell I've ever come across in the wards - even gangrene doesn't top it. The only other thing that I can compare in terms of "worse" would be bloated bodies floating in seawater. Now THAT stuff is really nasty.
     
  20. GuitarHero1

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    Do you seriously think you have some issue in getting into med school? Your GPA is high, your MCAT is on target, and you've basically done everything with HIV but find a cure for it. Stop worrying.
     
  21. qtrlifecrisis

    qtrlifecrisis Left of the middle
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    bump

    SilverBandCry, we are interested in hearing how your application story played out! Any words of advice?
     
  22. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers
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    I don't generally look at number of hours; I look at number of months. I do like to see a long-term interest or one that is more than just a week or two.

    I laughed at my post of 2 years ago about the "average" MCAT at upper tier schools being 30 or 31. Indeed, that was true a few cycles ago. It is a moving target. In the last cycle, the "average" was more like 33 or 34.
     
  23. leftmid

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    Does anyone have any idea how the relationship between the averages of accepted and matriculated MCATs fare? Is there any convergence or divergence in the trend? Or it just continues to be parallel as if it was a railroad track to eternity?

    Don't tell me that it looks like all those entangled waves in a stormy sea, please.


    edit: to answer the op's question, that kind of ECs is as important as a heavy overcoat that you need in the freezing snow storm in__________.
     
  24. seraph524

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    when did 30-31 mcat become average for top schools?
     
  25. LifetimeDoc

    LifetimeDoc EM Attending
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    Look at the date LizzyM posted that statement. That was 2 years ago! I made the same mistake when I read it too. :D
     
  26. seraph524

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    holy crap lol hahahahaha my bad my bad
     
  27. GuitarHero1

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    oh wow, why was this thread bumped? I also didn't notice that it was 2 years old
     
  28. medking

    medking The time will come...
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    Thanks for the answer, LizzyM.
     

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